Serena and Venus on doubles
Originally published on: 11/07/12 00:00
Serena and Venus Williams have long-excelled as individuals, but the American sisters' potency as a doubles team garners less attention than it deserves.
Serena, 30, and Venus, 32, have played together since childhood, coached by their father on the run-down courts of Compton in LA, and the 13-time Grand Slam doubles champions say that they enjoy playing together more than ever.
"It's wonderful to play on the court with her," says Venus. "I feel like Serena was my role model. I couldn't have done any of this without her because she showed me how to win.
"I think we just stay really relaxed when we play with each other because we believe in each other so much it helps the other one to stay relaxed."
While the secret to their doubles success surely has something to do with their close relationship, the sisters also feel that their power on the court, particularly on serve, has a part to play.
"I think it helps," says Venus. "Serena and I both put so much pressure on our opponents with our serves, and our returns are also very good."
Serena recounts a time in their childhood where their father, Richard, pinpointed aggression as a crucial weapon.
"I remember my dad told Venus to get aggressive at the net. I don't know if we were playing together or against each other, but he was like; 'You need to be more aggressive'. So Venus crossed while the guy was serving. She ended up crossing on the serve and hitting a volley on the serve. That just goes to show you her attitude."
Although each has faced their own obstacles in the past few years, Venus being diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome and her younger sister suffering a pulmonary embolism at the turn of 2011, the elder of the two highlights self-belief as a constant source of strength.
"We're not into the whole getting defeated thing; we're into the conquering thing," she says.
"I don't think either of us believe that we can be defeated by anything. Nothing has defeated us yet, so we're going to keep that track record."